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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dietary modulation of the effects of exposure to 56FE particles

Authors
item Rabin, Bernard - U. OF MARYLAND, BALTIMORE
item Joseph, James
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara
item Carey, Amanda

Submitted to: Advances in Space Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 9, 2007
Publication Date: August 6, 2007
Citation: Rabin, B.M., Joseph, J.A., Shukitt Hale, B., Carey, A.N. 2007. Dietary modulation of the effects of exposure to 56FE particles. Advances in Space Research. 40(4):576-580.

Interpretive Summary: On exploratory missions to other planets, astronauts will be exposed to radiation particles. Long-term exposure to these particles can cause cancer and other age-related diseases because exposing organisms to this type of radiation leads to oxidative stress and the production of reactive oxygen species, which among other effects on the health and functioning of the organism, have been linked to causing cancer. If this is the case, then it would be possible to reduce the risk of developing cancer on missions to other planets by treatments that reduce oxidative stress. One treatment that has been reported to be effective in reducing oxidative stress and the production of free radicals has been the use of antioxidant diets. The results of this preliminary study, using a ground-based model for exposure to cosmic rays, show reduced development of tumors in rats maintained on diets containing blueberry or strawberry extract prior to exposure to radiation. Although additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of strawberry and blueberry supplementation, the preliminary results presented in this study suggest that diets containing antioxidant compounds can provide additional radiation protection on interplanetary voyages. These results also have implications for a variety of other parameters of health and functioning that are vulnerable to increases in oxidative stress, particularly the negative effects that oxidative stress may have on an aging organism.

Technical Abstract: On exploratory missions to other planets, astronauts will be exposed to galactic cosmic rays composed of protons and heavy particles, such as 56Fe. Long-term exposure to these particles can cause cancer and other age-related diseases, due to increases in oxidative stress. However, there are significant uncertainties in the risk estimates for the probability of developing heavy particle-induced cancer, and in the amount of shielding needed to provide an adequate level of radiation protection. The results of this preliminary study, using a ground-based model for exposure to cosmic rays, show reduced tumorigenesis in rats maintained on diets containing blueberry or strawberry extract prior to exposure to 56Fe particles. Although additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of strawberry and blueberry supplementation, the preliminary results presented in this study suggest that diets containing antioxidant phytochemicals can provide additional radiation protection on interplanetary voyages.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014